Pettitte, Yanks negotiations lose steam
Little progress made in talks to put lefty back in pinstripes
NEW YORK -- The odds of Andy Pettitte's return to pinstripes, once considered a virtual certainty, appear to be dwindling by the day.
More than two months have passed since Pettitte was offered -- and later rejected -- a one-year, $10 million offer to help open the new Yankee Stadium as a member of the club's rotation.
Having extended a combined $423.5 million to free agents CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira this offseason, the Yankees no longer have a standing offer on the table to Pettitte, though dialogue has continued.
According to a report Tuesday on SI.com, a Yankees official characterized the odds of Pettitte resuming his career with the organization as "less than a 50-50 chance."
Pettitte's representative, Randy Hendricks, did not return an e-mail seeking comment.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said after the Teixeira announcement that Pettitte's situation had grown "more complicated now" and that, if need be, the club was prepared to round out its rotation from within.
New York has one slot open where a contender from the group of Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Alfredo Aceves or Jason Johnson could join manager Joe Girardi's five-man staff. Sabathia and Burnett would head that rotation, along with Chien-Ming Wang and Joba Chamberlain.
That is bad news for Pettitte, who has been reluctant to accept such a significant pay cut from the $16 million he earned in each of the past two seasons.
"I care a great deal about the guy and what he's meant here," Cashman said last week. "Ultimately, Spring Training is not upon us. The fifth starter is going to come, at this point, from one of those kids. If that changes, the best way to leave it is that we'll certainly let you know."
Pettitte was 14-14 with a 4.54 ERA in 33 starts for New York last year, though his second half -- perennially one of his calling cards -- was less than stellar.
He was 2-7 with a 6.23 ERA after July 31, raising questions about his preparation for the season following his inclusion in baseball's Mitchell Report and subsequent testimony in front of a congressional committee in Washington, D.C.
Pettitte said at the conclusion of the regular season that he wanted to pitch in the new Yankee Stadium, and that if he were to pitch in 2009, it would not be for anybody but the Yankees. In November, he sent word through his agents that he intended to play in '09.
If Pettitte and the Yankees cannot settle upon a dollar figure that pleases both sides, retirement is an option for the 36-year-old left-hander, which would make him the second Yankees hurler to call it quits this offseason, after Mike Mussina.
Pettitte spoke to Dodgers manager Joe Torre earlier this offseason about the possibility of continuing his career in Los Angeles, but Torre said that he predicted Pettitte would wind up back with the Yankees.
There had also been speculation of Pettitte rejoining the Astros, but Houston GM Ed Wade said that such a scenario was improbable.
Wade told MLB.com on Thursday that the Astros have not had any discussions with Pettitte or his representatives, and that "we don't see a scenario where he would fit into our payroll scenario at this time."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.